When I wrote the previous review of an older 18yo Springbank (one from 2011), Springbank was readily available in Europe in many guises. Enough to choose from, with decent prices. Today I can paint an entirely different picture. If I would go to several shops I would probably find nothing at all, and with some luck, maybe, and I stress this word, maybe I would be able to buy a 10yo like this, but that’s about it. If I want another Springbank, secondary market is the way to go these days, with secondary market prices as well. Accessibility is low, demand has risen dramatically. Springbank doesn’t have to bother advertising their product anymore, nor do they attend Whisky shows and packaging isn’t necessary as well. It all sells itself. Where does it all go? US, Asia? Well, since this was the only normal buy in recent times, let’s see how the 10yo is doing…
Color: Clear light gold.
Nose: Cardboard and fruity. Slightly creamy and nutty. Recognizable Campbeltown oily funk. A memory of peat, but it is most definitely not up front. Cleaner than I remember other Springbank 10yo’s to be, like for instance the 2003 and 10/342 (2010) editions, yet in the greater scheme of Whisky, clean this is not. Somewhat dusty and waxy. Peaches with a hint of banana, maybe some apricots and a wee backbone of something smoky. A lighter and fruitier take on the 10yo. Sweet fruit yoghurt with more dust and fresh almonds (without their skins). Sometimes I pick up on faint pine resin and/or camphor, or do I fool myself? Band-aids are another strange note that sometimes whiffs by. Very well balanced though. Springbank is just such a good distillery. Amazing smelling 10yo again. As often with Springbank, give it time to breathe. Oxidation is almost always Springbank’s friend. After sipping it for a while, a more green and leafy note emerges adding a little bit to the complexity of this Malt. This is very nice for an affordable 10yo, still one of the best you can get, but wait a minute, before you get carried away, how does it taste?
Taste: Nutty again. Because here there is more wood upfront, it seems less fruity. Very tasty but also a bit thin and rather simple (the nose shows more complexity), still, the balance is here, as well as it is in the taste. However, I expected something more oily or fatty, at least the feel of that, because the oily taste is present, yet the texture isn’t. This is also not very warming going down, so I guess this is more a summer type of Whisky. After swallowing you can pinpoint quite a sharp (woody) bitter note in your mouth, that doesn’t go away for a while. It actually tastes like less than 46% ABV (more like 40% ABV). So the rather thin texture doesn’t help the Whisky along. Nevertheless, this a highly drinkable Malt. Where in the start the wood was masking the fruit a bit, I’m happy to report this has a nice and fruity finish that carries well into the aftertaste (along with the creamy bits).
This isn’t one of the best batches of the 10yo around, yet if I would find myself stranded on a sunny deserted island with a case of this, it still is one of the best you could wish for in a situation like that. Other than that, this is a decent and pretty straightforward and as mentioned earlier, highly drinkable Malt. Just don’t decide for yourself how this one is right after opening the bottle, this really needs some time to properly open up, like most Springbanks do. Drink this too fast is not a good idea, just give it time, put it on your shelf for a day or two without a cork (mind the fruit flies) and you will be rewarded. As said this is definitely not the best batch of the 10yo, but there is still enough here to have fun with or grow a fondness for. I did.
Points: 85 (almost 86)